Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global
network of virus, spyware and spam analysis centers, have warned of
a widespread spam campaign that pretends that the receipient's baby
has been kidnapped.
The campaign tries to trick innocent computer users into opening
a file claiming to be photographs of the infant, but are really
The email claims that your baby has been
The malicious emails carry the subject line "We have hijacked
your baby" and claim that a $50,000 reward must be paid for the
child's safe return.
Attached to the email is a file, entitled photo.zip, which
contains a malicious Trojan horse that will download further
malware from the internet to compromise PCs. Sophos detects the
Trojan horse as
"Receiving or reading these widespread emails themselves does
not mean you are infected," said Graham Cluley, senior
technology consultant for Sophos. "However, if users open the
attachment they will be infecting their Windows computer, and
giving hackers an open door to take control and steal information.
Once a PC is comandeered, criminals can spy, steal or launch
attacks against other parts of the net."
Sophos believes that the disguise used by the hackers proves
that there are no depths to which computer criminals are prepared
to stoop to get financial reward.
"There's no other way of putting it - this attack is sick.
Hackers have no qualms about exploiting a family's natural instinct
to defend its most vulnerable members. Hopefully people will pause
before opening the attachment, but the reflex action of some may be
to click first and think later," continued Cluley. "Everyone should
ensure they have defenses in place to properly protect against the
very latest malware attacks."
Sophos recommends companies automatically update their corporate
virus protection, and run a consolidated
solution at the email gateway to defend against viruses and
Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at www.sophos.com.